Arts and Lifestyle

Golden Globes become platform for social justice

The recent slew of sexual assault allegations and the rise of the #MeToo movement was further thrown into the spotlight during the Golden Globe award ceremony. Photo courtesy of Flickr. 

By Peridot Park

The 2018 Golden Globes transcended from an awards ceremony to a rallying cry for activism by some of the most influential figures in Hollywood. The event on January 7 followed a season of unrelenting and highly publicized efforts to expose the systemic injustice of the entertainment industry- efforts unprecedented in the scope of both those who participated and the audience they reached. These efforts included the #MeToo movement, which gave a voice to survivors of sexual assault.

The event raised the question of whether or not public figures are obligated to use their platforms for social change. “I think celebrities have a duty to utilize their platforms to not only promote their own gain, but also to give back to the community that gave them their fame,” junior Vivian Liu said.

On the other hand, some question the validity and effectiveness of the support of celebrities. “Sometimes I do feel like a lot of celebrities jump in and support a certain movement just to make themselves look better, even if they don’t feel strongly about it at all,” sophomore Victoria Wat said.

“I don’t think anyone who could benefit from hearing and genuinely understanding these speeches will care at all what a bunch of rich Hollywood celebrities will say. That being said, if it brings to light a specific issue that people don’t know about [...] it can really do some good.” senior Atreya Iyer said.

Seth Myers set the tone of the night with his opening monologue, containing jabs at President Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Spacey. The most visible form of protest, however, was in the attendees’ choice of attire: attendees were asked to wear black by the organization TimesUp, a group formed by 300 women in the entertainment industry dedicated to combating sexism, particularly sexual abuse, in the workplace.
“I am wearing black to thank and honor all of the brave whistleblowers who came forward and shared their stories of harassment and assault and discrimination. Wearing black to stand in solidarity with my sisters all over the globe,” actress Debra Messing said.

This choice was criticized by some as a superficial and ineffective form of protest. “A show of solidarity at an awards show is one very small piece,” actress Reese Witherspoon clarified. “It really is a statement that women are deeply unified, we always have been, and that we stand up for those who can’t speak up.”

Eight activists attended the Globes as the guests of actresses involved with TimesUp: among others, Tarana Burke, senior director of Girls for Gender Equity and founder of the #MeToo movement and Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Oprah brought the house down with her rousing acceptance speech of the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Her speech followed Meryl Streep’s in 2017, who famously criticized President Donald Trump. “It is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice [...] What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” Oprah said. Oprah’s speech gave a clear voice to the concerns of marginalized communities. “Her speech really echoed the heart and soul of all of us that feel oppressed because of our government,” sophomore Miles Hester said.

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